Murder in Central NJ; A Franklin Park Mystery Unfolds

I never knew several terrible murders happened so close to my neighborhood two centuries ago…not until author & local historian Brian Armstrong hired me to create pen & ink illustrations for his just released book, “The Frankin Park Tragedy”!  While working on the book I learned about the horrible and racially motivated murders that occurred only a couple of miles away over 120 years ago!  Since this fascinating book was just released I invited Brian to discuss this important work…

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Franklin Park Tragedy Book Overview

The book provides a detailed account of the Franklin Park Tragedy murders of March 1, 1894 when Lucretia Baker and her daughter, Gertrude, were murdered in their home and her husband, Moore Baker, fought off the two African American attackers and killed them. The second part of the tragedy involves the group blame of the African American residents of the area and the expulsion of some of those residents by the Franklin Park vigilante society called the Mutual Endeavor Society. Lynchings, expulsions, and sundown town designations, which are normally associated with Southern States during this era, are shown to have been contemplated by Franklin Park residents.

Surviving historical records, land records, and personal stories are used to demonstrate how the Great Migration of African American families from the South in the twentieth century, with the help of a new group of white farmers, changed the “sundown town” designation for the Franklin Park area. This community change began with the arrival of the Coleman and other families in the 1920s which was the beginning of the transformation of Franklin Park into the diverse place that it is today. The book also includes profiles of prominent African American citizens of the Franklin Park area who worked on the farms and in some cases owned land during the 1800s. The media and their role in the racial issues of this era are discussed since key source material for the book came from various newspapers from every region of the US and in countries such as the UK and New Zealand.

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(Recent cover of the Home News featuring an article about the book & illustration by Lauren Curtis)

The book includes:

· Profiles of the ordinary white and African American men and women who worked on the farms in the area and have not been profiled in other books.

· Discussion of the neglected time period after the Civil War where white farmers and the children and grandchildren of the slaves lived and worked together in New Jersey.

· Stories about families that were part of the Great Migration of African Americans moving from southern states to the Garden State during the 20th century.

· Over 80 pictures with major images provided by the Six Mile Run Reformed Church (Martin S. Garretson Collection), Franklin Park Library, and South Brunswick Public Library.  Also previously unpublished photographs from the personal collections.

· Drawings depicting key parts of the story by Franklin Park artist Lauren Curtis.

· Extensive newspaper source material about the murders and the expulsion which shows the value of these resources in chronicling historical events that are not recorded in any other surviving sources.

· A map to orient the 21st century reader with the actual locations mentioned in the book to identify surviving buildings and landmarks.

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“Fleeing the scene”, Illustration (c)2019 Lauren Curtis

Why I Wrote the Book

Three years ago, as the president of the South River Preservation & Historical Society, I wanted to expand our knowledge of the African-American citizens of the town.  Although prominent African-Americans such as Drew Pearson had grown up in the borough, no previous books or articles had been written about this group. I began looking at census records and then the wonderful newspaper archive provided by the New Brunswick Free Library. As I searched for stories about South River African-Americans, I kept seeing stories about the Franklin Park Tragedy and learned of the expulsion which was not mentioned in any other books about Franklin Township or New Jersey. I then postponed my South River research realizing that this story was very important and needed to be told.

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“Racism in Franklin Park” (c)2019 Lauren Curtis



About the Author

Brian Armstrong was born in Flemington New Jersey and grew up in Stanton, New Jersey.  He received a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C. He lives now in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. Armstrong has worked for 37 years for various technology and staffing companies including EDS, Kelly Services, and International Technology Solutions, Inc.  He was President of the South River Historical & Preservation Society for 10 years and is now the Vice-President, Central Region, for the League of Historical Societies of New Jersey.  He is an independent historian, researcher and author. In 2015, he co-wrote the Arcadia Book, South River, with Stephanie Bartz and Nan Whitehead. He also frequently writes articles for the Bar Harbor Historical Society in Bar Harbor, Maine where his mother’s family lived for several hundred years.  Mr. Armstrong lectures throughout the state on local history, the U.S. Women’s Suffrage Movement, Prohibition, World War I, the Spanish Influenza, and political history. He is a collector of US Presidential election memorabilia and is a member of American Political Items Collectors (APIC).

Armstrong has been married to Rosemarie Rufo Armstrong for 32 years and is father of two daughters and one grandson.

Email:  brianarm59@gmail.com

You can read more about the book here: https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/history/2019/10/10/nj-history-franklin-park-tragedy-expelled-african-american-residents/3819260002/

You can buy the book here: https://www.arcadiapublishing.com/Products/9781467143585

 

Getting “Personaland” with Art

The art world has gone way beyond brick & mortar galleries!  I recently heard about a new, unique online art forum called Personaland & participated in an online art exhibit.  I was pleased to see how fun, original & interactive the site’s creator, Stewart Wilson, has made the site so I asked him to be my next guest blogger so he can tell us how this concept came to be and how you can participate….

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Personaland is the destination of my forty year journey of making the Personas – my “wrapped representatives from another dimension here for peaceful purposes.” As I have made these sculptures, the embodiment of human potential, they have guided me. I have made over 31,00 individual figures in human and animal form which has been distributed and exhibited world-wide. During this time, I have founded and been Executive Director of two non-profit arts organizations, Public Image (NYC 1981-84) and Artwell Gallery (Torrington, CT (1995-2011). I have been a public school art teacher. The Personas are about human connectivity and community building and I feel that they were my gurus in my artistic trajectory. Since retiring from teaching, I have attended dozens of meet-ups, conferences and workshops where I have learned 21st century skills and connected with hundreds of talented people. Personaland has been a quest to create an online cultural platform and community for artists of all media – visual, film. literary and performance arts. Personaland is a welcoming, peaceful, respectful destination that uses the latest in digital technology for positive purposes – screens for good.

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Personaland is an online global village for the arts – an internet sanctuary whose mission is to unite us through our humanity, creativity and community. With an invigorating blend of entertainment, enchantment and culture, we are designing novel adventures and opportunities for you. Our global group and individual art shows have exhibited over 100 artists from nearly two dozen countries, We are adding exciting new activities every month, bring greater satisfaction to an ever growing audience. https://www.personaland.com

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We’re now accepting artwork of all media – images, music, film and words – for our December global group show “Community.” No entry fee https://personaland.com/submit/community-exhib.php

We have Persona Horseback and Dragon rides to our online individual and global art shows, Art Shop, dancing flowers, wishing well and fun games

What’s your Art History IQ? Play the “Name the Artist” game and contest at the Game Bazaar: https://personaland.com/tent/art-clue/

We’d love your participation!

Stewart

Tacky is the new cool at You Tacky Thing’s craft studio!

Time again for me to feature another local artist who makes funky, unique hand crafted items; introducing my friend Stephanie Higgens-Rowley!  I met her when she started taking creative marketing lessons from me to boost her cool, hand-decorated bottle and hand-made jewelry business & so far so good….she’s made tons of awesome decorative items to sell and is now doing NJ vending events, so I invited her to be my next guest blogger so she can introduce herself to you & her “tacky” work…after all, her business is called You Tacky Thing!  Now in her words….
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“Don’t throw that out!”, my mom would yell at me from the kitchen. Anything that could be used again, used for something else, used for something you haven’t even thought of yet was not to be thrown out. Both my parents grew up during the Depression. Everything has a potential use.
This is why I gravitate toward found items. I have access to bass and guitar strings, guitar picks and empty bottles. So when they outlive their usefulness I like to create something interesting. The strings most likely become jewelry while the bottles become decorative. I like using bottles that have an unusual shape or color to them.
I love being creative with things that would have been thrown out. Its like making something out of nothing. You never know what its going to be.
I have been doing this for a while now and I must say its the best job I’ve ever had. I try really hard to create things that are interesting and make you wonder how it got there or where it came from. Some of my favorite themes to use on my bottles are
Gothic and Victorian imagery , mermaids, dragon flies and bats. I even create bottles that can be lit up and I welcome custom commissions. As for my rock and roll inspired jewelry, my creations have been worn on stage by some pretty amazingly talented performers! You can purchase items from my Facebook page You Tacky Thing and you can find me at various vending events throughout NJ an NY. My next event will be at NJ Paraunity  Expo in Woodbridge, NJ. For more info : https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10216158534209635&set=gm.2287489841492576&type=3&theater

Welcome to the DARK SIDE…

Goth is alive..or undead…in New Jersey thanks to promoter Jet of Vampire Freaks!  He’s been bringing the huge, creative and awesome Dark Side of the Con event to us recently and the next one is coming up in March 29th-31st in Parsippany, NJ.  These are such elaborate, fun fests with cosplayers, bands, artists, guest speakers, authors, performers and more so I’ve invited Jet to be my latest guest blogger so he can tell us how he’s been inspired to create these events, what you can expect & how you can attend….take it away Jet….

Greetings, my name is Jet and I’m happy to be doing a guest blog for the lovely Steampunk Landing (Lauren’s Steampunk Facebook Group)  & Lauren Curtis Art Blog!
A little about me:  I’m the owner of vampirefreaks.com , which is the #1 gothic themed website in the world, which is a social networking site that also has an online clothing store.   I’m also a professional website programmer and have over 15 years of experience promoting events.
I’m here to tell you about, Dark Side of the Con which is the largest gothic / dark-alternative event in North America, and the only convention of its kind, taking place on March 29th-31st in Parsippany, NJ.
This year is our 3rd year doing this event, and it has grown in leaps and bounds each year.   Focusing on gothic, industrial, metal and rock genres, Dark Side of the Con is broken up into a few different parts.
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Live Bands:   We have over 20 live bands, our headliners are ‘Stabbing Westward’, ‘Aesthetic Perfection’, and ‘Assemblage 23’.    ‘Stabbing Westward’ actually holds a special place in my heart because I was a huge fan of them as a teenager, and I’d listen to their albums over and over again.  I’ve had the pleasure of booking them a couple times in the past few years and these guys are the most friendly and down to earth rockstars I’ve ever met.  And believe me, I’ve met tons of bands over the years, lets just say there’s some big egos going around the music scene and it’s not always the most pleasant experience.  So when I work with somebody as huge as ‘Stabbing Westward’, who’s been all over the radio and MTV and had huge commercial success, when they’re so humble and friendly it just blows my mind and makes me have that much more respect for them.
One other awesome thing about booking bands for ‘Dark Side of the Con’, is since the event has been such a success so far, we get flooded with applications looking to perform!  So it can be hard narrowing it down to band we accept, but it’s very exciting for us.
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Our special guest this year is Youtube sensation ‘Black Friday’, who has over 600,000 followers will be hosting a meet & greet as well as teaching us how to be a successful youtube star.  She is currently living in New Zealand and she’ll be coming to the US just for our event.
Burlesque:  Possibly our most popular event is our burlesque show each night, because lets face it, people love boobs.    We have a variety of burlesque acts each night from professional burlesque dancers, and they really do impress us every year!
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DJ Club events:   We have 2 different club events each night featuring our rockstar djs so that you can pick from different types of music.   This year our club music genres include ‘industrial’, ‘goth’, ’emo’, ’90s’, ‘alternative’, ‘synthpop’, ‘new wave’, as well as some surprises thrown in!
Panels / Presentations / Activities :  We have over 50 various panels / activities ranging in a variety of dark-themed topics, from gothic fashion and horror to oddities and witchcraft.   This year we’ve added some more kid-friendly activities such as ‘paint a ceramic skull’ and ‘Halloween coloring books’.  In addition this year we will have some live bats on display.
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Vendors:  We have carefully selected over 70 independent vendors who have all kinds of unique wares!  Including cosmetics, clothing, accessories, taxidermy and more.
I could go on about how fun this event is but really it’s something you have to experience with your own eyes!   We have some videos for you to check out tho:

 

Link for more info & tickets:
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A new author’s dreams come true!

Bringing a new author’s stories to life is very exciting to me, as a freelance artist, and when you work with someone who you click with it’s even more enjoyable!  That’s why I’ve asked author Hayde Romero to be a guest blogger and share with you how she came to write children’s books.  I’m so happy to have been hired as her artist and I think her stories will be fun & inspiring for young readers!  Here’s what she has to say about her newly published books….

HaydeBookCvrFrontOct2018.jpgThe idea of The Adventures of Mimi and Lulu came to me early one morning as I snuggled with my daughter in bed.  I knew she enjoyed story time and so I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a story featuring her? Slowly, I started developing on that idea and pulled in another character, Lulu which is inspired by one of my closest friend’s daughter. And of course, they had to have a dog (Magellan)!

I decided these three characters would embark on adventures that took place anywhere in this and out of this world. But how would this ever possible? It was only possible in their dreams. So, when they fell asleep during sleepovers, they met in their dreams and the adventures began.  I also wanted these stories to have some sort of meaning behind them – to deliver a message of kindness.

I try to portray this in The Fallen Star and The River Mystery.  In The Fallen Star, Mimi, Lulu and Magellan help a fallen star get back home to her mom. And in The River Mystery, the girls and Magellan help with a dilemma their friend (the river) is having.  

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR….
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My English college professor once told me I was a good writer. And I believed her. From then, I started writing short stories and even wrote an entire novel. Writing is something I enjoy doing. Sometimes the stories flow with ease as I write them. Many other times, they simply don’t.

What I love the most is that I get to control the story and most importantly, the ending.

To order your copy of her new children’s book, click this link to purchase on Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Mimi-Lulu-Fallen-Mistery/dp/1726657833/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543947568&sr=8-1&keywords=the+adventures+of+mimi+and+lulu

 

Thanksgiving Greetings!

What am I thankful for? For your support of the arts & my work as well!  Creativity and self-expression are vital for a healthy community & I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read my newsletters, come to the events, purchase work and just show support in any way you can for the wide variety of artists out there!  We couldn’t do it without you!  So, I want to wish you & yours a happy, healthy Thanksgiving!! 

Warm Wishes,

~Lauren

 

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Anti-bully Bunny helps kids!

Art & stories are a great way to teach kids about compassion & life-skills.  This is one reason I love creating illustrations for children’s books, so when author Joan Decker
approached me to commission me to illustrate her anti-bullying story for kids, I immediately said YES!  The book is now complete and available on Amazon & Kindle so I invited Joan to be my next guest blogger so she can share her inspiration for her book with you…..
My name is Joan Decker, I’m a single mother of two son’s age’s 34 & 18 yrs. I am also a retired Special Ed teaching Assistant of 11 yrs. I began writing Poetry at the age of 16 yrs. old, it come’s so naturally to me. I have a compilation of Poems and will make it into a book soon. I’ve been an Advocate against Bullying since 2004, & I mentor children through Social Media. I was bullied as a young child after I had to start wearing glasses at age 7 yrs. old and hated them. We were poor, & my Mom had to use Medicaid for all doctor appointment’s, so my choice of glasses were limited to these ugly blue one’s with pointy corner’s. The very first day I wore them to school, children laughed at me , calling me name’s like ” Cat Eye’s” and “Four Eyes”, It made me sad. I can recall crying all the time and feeling like an outcast. So I mirrored Rosalina’s character (the bunny), after myself in my first book, BE A FRIEND NOT A BULLY: NAMES HURT. My youngest son Antonio was severely bullied since Kindergarten thru 6th grade, due to his Speech delay and quiet demeanor. He was physically and emotionally bullied everyday until I removed him in 6th Grade after being beaten by three boy’s. I then proceeded to Home School him, until he graduated in 2017. Antonio suffers from PTSD; no child should ever be traumatized in a school environment where he should be safe. I created animals in my stories to make each book kid friendly, keeping the bullying at only name calling, no violence. My focus being to inspire children to take pride in their appearance, to be strong in who they are. That bullies only have Power over you, if you let them. We live in a World where suicide is too common, and we as parents and as a society must bring Bullying of any kind to an abrupt end. This book is the first of a three part series, with the hope of giving emotional support to bullied children all over the world. I poured my heart and soul into each story and hope that I can make a difference in your child’s Life.
Joanie Decker
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All Artwork (c)2017-2018 Lauren Curtis

 To purchase a copy:
BE A FRIEND NOT A BULLY: NAMES HURT
This book is the first of a 3 part Series, to help children deal with bullying and diversity. As a Elementary teacher, I have seen first hand the negative effect it has on a child’s self-esteem. My message in each book is the same, be yourself and Stand True. We all have Special & Unique qualities that make us who we are inside. Rosalina Rabbit’s journey is about her appearance changing and while difficult in the beginning, she overcomes all the Name Calling and becomes Proud of how she looks.

A Comic Book Revolution

One great thing about the internet is how easily we can connect with other creative and like-minded people!  I recently made a connection via LinkedIn with Bob Coar, a unique comic book creator.  I liked his original perspective on current topics and political issues and also enjoyed the artistic style of the illustrations.  So, I invited him to be my latest guest blogger & share some insight into his revolutionary world of comics…..

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Podcasts, Tattoos & Favorite Things

What do these 3 things have in common?  They are all new art exhibits and art interviews happening now…and I’m happy to be involved with all three of them!  Spring brings out the motivation & creativity in many of us so it’s a great time to create new work or get out & experience what’s going on in the art world.  Social media makes this easier than ever, especially with podcasts !  My friend at the XFactory hooked me up with the awesome guys at Know-Shit Podcasts to do an hour long interview about everything from what it’s like to be a full time artist, to the Gothic & Steampunk scenes, mythology, spirituality & more!   I hope you’ll take some time to check it out, & listen in on future podcasts as well, as they have many interesting guests.  Here’s the link to my interview:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjFT7TLpCF4&feature=share

As for Tattoos, they are an ancient art form that has gone thru many changes and stereotypes but is now more respected than ever as a true art form and is being honored in a new art exhibit at Atelier Rosal in Rahway, NJ!  Amazing works depicting tattooed people and art by artists who’s work has ended up on a walking canvas as well as images addressing this much maligned but now popular art form. Show runs thru June 7, 2018.  74 East Cherry St., Rahway, NJ.  
https://www.facebook.com/AtelierRosal/

Micro/Macrocom Tree (c)2010 Lauren Curtis

Digital photo collage using actual x-ray images.

I’m happy to have 2 of my “X-RAYted” digital photo collages in this show and the exhibit will also coincide with a huge biker fest in town Sat. May 12.  Here’s the Facebook invite page for details:   https://www.facebook.com/events/1803649219938141/

This town wide, free event will be the perfect place to see tattoo art at it’s best, both in the gallery and on human canvases!

Finally we come to “a few of our Favorite Things”.  This is the latest theme for the new art exhibit at the South Brunswick Municipal Gallery, which opens Fri. May 18, 6:30pm-8pm. It’s a free event, with refreshments served, that features art from many local NJ artists focused on things we feel a connection to, that bring back memories and tell stories!  I’ll have the photo below, “NOLA VooDoo Window” in this exhibit.  Show runs thru Aug. 5, 2018.
540 Rt. 522/Ridge Rd., Monmouth Jct., NJ www.sbarts.org

So, there are many ways you can get involved with the arts this spring, whether it’s attending a gallery show, a biker tattoo outdoor fest or listening to a podcast from the comfort of home…or all three!  Either way, I hope you enjoy these free and creative events…& stay tuned for more to come this summer!

Return of the Lazy Blogger

I admit it!!  I’ve been lazy…well, when it comes to blogging anyway.  But I have an excuse…I really do!  It’s because other art related stuff has been taking up my time and I’m really happy about that!  OK, so other social media networking has been a big time suck too…don’t you ever fall into that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. time warp where you start out promoting your craft and get caught up in the home page posts of friends, cute animal videos & political drama when you realize, CRAP!…I just wasted an hour on fluff?  Yeah, guilty as charged but I have honestly been really busy with for-real art stuff too!  So, to catch you up, here’s what’s been happening in my creative world so feel free to post comments about how you deal with the bombardment of social media & how it effects your work.

TEACHING IS FUN!  Being someone who is not a fan of public speaking I didn’t know how I’d feel about giving art lessons but when it’s one-on-one or a small group, I found it’s awesome!  So I have a cool group of students of various ages (even one across the pond that I do Skype lessons with) & it’s so awesome to pass on creative knowledge and see people really get into it & see how their work progresses during the lessons!  Aside from art lessons I also give creative marketing lessons as I have extensive experience in sales, fund raising & marketing from previous art & non-art jobs I’ve had over the years before making the leap to full time artist!  My goal is to give at least one class a day (5 days a week) & I’m pretty close….so if you want to hone your creativity or know someone who does, drop me a line here & I’ll get back to you!

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

ART SHOWS ARE FUN TOO!  Especially when stuff sells!  I’m currently in a 4 artist show at the Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center in Plainsboro, NJ & the above painting pre-sold!  And I sold both pieces that were in the last show I did at Gallery U in Westfield, NJ.  Now I’m preparing to submit work to 4 new exhibits so fingers (& nails) crossed. (If you know me at all you know I have crazy Ripley’s Believe It Or Not length nails!).  So hopefully my next blog will be about some of the new shows my work will be in…

YAY! COMMISSIONS!  As a full time freelance artist nothing is better than getting hired to create art & design work for clients!  Luckily I’ve been hired to do illustrations for books, graphic design work, and one of my favorite things, pet portraits, for a variety of clients across the US & abroad.  This has not only kept me busy but helps pay those bills too so the more work the merrier!  Keep it comin’! Here are just a few examples of the work I’ve been doing lately that has caused my lack of blogging…

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pencil illustration for a children’s book (c)2017

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Commissions welcome so message me for details!

So, you see?  I haven’t been lazy with my artwork, just with blogging….I’m trying to get back in the swing….so can I ask you a favor?  If you can read, comment, follow & like posts it’ll encourage me to keep at it and to start getting interesting guest bloggers again so it’s not just all about me….there are so many fascinating people out there creating awesome work that I’d like to share so drop me a line if you’re interested & help end the blog slacking!  Thanks for reading…till next time…which will be soon, I hope…..fingers & nails crossed!

Why would anyone do Steampunk?

So why should anyone be interested in Steampunk??   Well, Steampunk & Gothic event guru, Jeff Mach, has the answers for you…and the events to attend to check out this fascinating scene.  Here’s a blog he wrote & allowed me to share with you…

Are there reasons NOT to do Steampunk?  Oh, HECK yes.  Let me give you some.

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First off, it’s ridiculous. An imaginary 19th century which never happened and which we explore in the 21st century? Why in the world would anyone want to do that?

Relatedly, it doesn’t seem to make sense, when you think about it. I mean, when people imagine they’re at a Renaissance Faire, at least there is some degree of hypothetical actual history involved. It’s taken something like 50 years for the modern Renaissance fair to evolve so deeply into something which doesn’t really involve the Renaissance.  It took decades for Renaissance Faires to get to a point where they embody “some sort of point in history where people carried swords; something after the Dark Ages and before the Internal Combustion Engine.  Heck, in my own lifetime, with the coming of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, I’ve seen Renaissance Faires be pretty excited to welcome Pirates of clearly 18th century backgrounds–ie, at LEAST a hundred years after the Renaissnance is acknowledge to have ended.  That’s an impressive (and, to be clear, incredibly fun!) historical innacuracy – but at least it took a really long time.

Steampunk doesn’t have that excuse. How long has Steampunk as we know it been a thing? Eight years? Perhaps 10? I certainly know people who feel they and practicing it longer, but the very least, the Steampunk we see today has existed for less than a decade. It didn’t start out accurate and get weird. It started weird, and got more inaccurate from there.

And at least if this was something like punk rock or Goth or the hippie movement or even, as some claim, just a genre of science fiction literature, we don’t have anything like the hierarchy of those genres!  For example, there may or may not be a top Steampunk band or two. But those are the main reason people discover Steampunk. Is there a topSteampunk author? I think there are many incredible steampunk authors, and some have sold more books than others, and some might have had more influence than others, but I don’t think ANY particular Steampunk author is the creator of the Steampunk we know–certainly K.W. Jeter, who coined the very term, has said repeatedly that he did NOT create the Steampunk we see today.

Famous steampunk makers? We certainly have some. We certainly love their creations. I think I could possibly narrow my own list of the top five Steampunk creators down to… I don’t know, perhaps 10 people, all of whom could lay reasonable claim to being in the top five.  And most of them are actually too modest to say that. And some of the finest creations in Steampunk have absolutely not been made by people who identify as Steampunks–they’re just people who love playing with this culture.

Is Steampunk created by events? Would that mean that the people who run events run Steampunk? I’ll be honest. If you’re reading this, you are probably seeing this on my own website for my own event, or through social media that is related to an event company which bears my name. Do you think that I run Steampunk? I run the world’s largest Steampunk event. Am I in charge? Have you even heard of me?  The answer to the first question is definitely no!  The answer the second question is not definitely “no”…

…but I’m pretty sure that if you took all the people world who identify as Steampunk, and asked them if they know who runs any particular Steampunk events, most of they’d probably be able to answer only for the events they go to or for which they’ve seen advertising.

So why play with, create for, former lifestyle around, experiment with, or otherwise be a part of Steampunk?

The Steampunk World's Fair - "Wonders Untold"

Photos © 2010 – 2016 Babette Daniels Photography Purchase your copy of this image at http://www.babetted.com/Events/Steampunk/SPWF2016

For exactly and precisely each and every one of the reasons above!

Because Steampunk doesn’t have to make sense!  Steampunk doesn’t have to have a leader! Steampunk doesn’t have to be any damn thing at all except a gorgeous 19th century canvas upon which we are throwing all manner of paint, and sketches, and words, and ideas. And what we get out of  something which brings joy and fascination and beauty and community to a world which could choose to be humdrum and mundane and boring.

Let the world be boring?  NEVER!  We make the choice to be precisely the opposite. We are Steampunks!  In fact, each and every one of us IS Steampunk itself. You, right now, are building steampunk just by thinking about it and contributing your presence to this culture, even if all you do is read a few articles and put a few thoughts out into the ether. In fact, people who do that “matter” just as much, in their own way, as people like me whose lifestyle and actual living depend on Steampunk.  Because this isn’t a contest where somebody wins; this is a world-building to make a giant, deeply individual, deeply shared Universe we can call our own.

No masters. No slaves. No rules except the simplest one:

if you want to be a part of Steampunk, you can.

To get info on upcoming events:  http://steampunkworldsfair.com

Steampunk portrait

A look BEHIND THE VEIL

Are you fascinated with the possibility of life after death?  Do you have an interest in ghost hunting? Tarot cards? Other spiritual topics?  If so then the annual BEHIND THE VEIL event in the haunted Elk’s Lodge in East Brunswick, NJ is for you!  The event, that began as Para-X, is scheduled this year for Saturday, Sept. 30th, 11am-6pm (& it’s ONLY $5!!!) & I’m happy to be a part of it.  For more interesting details of how it began and what it’s become are founders and organizers Karen Kimmel Timper & Katharine Clark….

BehindTheVeilFlier2017

The Beginnings…

Behind1 Elk’s Lodge, E. Brunswick, NJ

 

Para X was conceived in 2010 by Karen Timper and her Father Richard Kimmel, who co-founded New Jersey Ghost Organization over 13 years ago. We received permission from the Elks Lodge in East Brunswick, NJ which made perfect sense seeing that the lodge was indeed a haunted location and the group had investigated it on several occasions after hearing numerous accounts of experiences by the lodge members. Proceeds in part help the lodges many endeavors over the years from their Youth Scholarship Committee to Drug awareness mentoring programs.

We took a 2 year hiatus after the first 5 years of running the expo largely due to the groups other projects and obligations, which included writing books for this Father-Daughter duo. Their most recent book, “Folklore of the New Jersey Shore.” Schiffer is their Publisher and this book along with other titles can be found in local Barnes and Noble Bookstores as well as on Amazon.

We’ve been back running the expo going into a second year once again along with Katharine Clark a Wiccan Elder and fellow Author and Lauren Curtis, local artist who is know for her very long fingernails and was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not book. Having help makes it easier as it is a huge undertaking, sometimes overwhelming, but absolutely rewarding because it brings the Public and the Paranormal together. It’s also a way to get into the spirit of things for the fall season on a lighter note. It’s serious business for local ghost hunters since they don’t charge for their expertise and this gives them a chance to get awareness out to the public. A lot of historical locations fall by the wayside and groups like these can help, as well as helping those families experiencing hauntings get the help they need.

Come see the “Haunted Lodge on the Lake” at 21 Oakmont Avenue in East Brunswick, NJ. There is a secret staircase, a bookcase that turns and more haunting features, right out of a Nancy Drew Mystery Book! Pick up a flyer at the door and find out the history and mystery. You won’t be disappointed.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE EVENT…

Behind2

On the DAY of the Para-X, you will see EXPO signs, especially on Hardenburg Lane, Oakmont Ave., and especially down the driveway leading to the Lodge.

LECTURE TIMES!

12PM: Katharine Clark – Pagan Autumnal Traditions

1PM: Chuck Lehman – An Introduction to Crystal Singing Bowls

2PM: Robert Oberholtzer – Reiki 101 and its (possible?) Beginnings

3PM: Kevin Meares – Ghosts, Demons, and Weirder Spirits: Understanding The Difference

4PM: Justin Bamforth – Preceptions and Deceptions in the Experience

5PM: Chris DiCesare – The C2D1 Haunting

LECTURERS RUN FROM 30 – 45 MINUTES,

SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE

Behind3

MEET a few of the AUTHORS: KAREN TIMPER AND RICHARD KIMMEL & KAT CLARK

BehindKaren

Karen Founded NJGO in 2003. She has been the subject of many news articles, and has appeared on local cable TV, radio and internet radio programs, as well as the Maury Show, over the years. She has co-authored three books with her dad, covering topics from Paranormal Archeology, to Ghosts of Central NJ, to Folklore of the New Jersey Shore.

Not being an easy field, both Ms. Timper and her group continue to move the Paranormal Field in a positive direction. Go to http://www.NJGhostOrg. com for more info on Ms. Timper and New Jersey Ghost Organization.

behindRich

Richard Kimmel is the other half of the father-daughter duo and a professional in his own right. Richard was a Photographer in the Army. He helped his daughter found New Jersey Ghost Organization over 13 years ago, and he continues to do what he does – work with his collections and his books.

Behindkat

Katharine Clark has been the hereditary Elder of the Tutha De Danann Irish Wiccan tradition for over 40 years. She is an award winning poet, a former workshop leader for the National Endowment for the Arts, an Occult Specialist for sever local police departments, and a Tarot instructor.  She is the former Circle leader at Earth Spirit New Age Center in Red Bank NJ.

Her first book, “An Irish Book of Shadows”, contains the ritual system of the TDD, along with coven structure, and an extensive compendium of Irish gods and their correlations. Her second book, “Things Your Elders Never Told You”, is a humorous look at growing up Wiccan. It also contains insights that are learned at the knee of a teacher, but missing from modern Wiccan instruction. Her works have been endorsed by Dan and Pauline Campanelli, Raymond Buckland, and Rosemary Ellen Guiley.

Along with Natalie Zaman, she is the co-creator of the “Graven Images Oracle” deck. It is not only available as a book and deck set, but also as an application for iphone, Android, etc. Come to her table to try a sample reading!

And there’s more…more authors, experts & alternative artisans & craft-persons, including yours truly (Lauren Curtis Art) who will be exhibiting & selling our wares. So join us for this mystical, magickal event!! And if you’re interested in vending please contact Kat at  katrclark@yahoo.com 

See you there!!

Steampunk called him home…

Have you ever felt that you were born in the wrong time or era?  Are you very creative and eclectic?  Do you have a fondness for fantasy and sci-fi?  If so then you are like many of us who have discovered the magic of the Steampunk Culture!  One person who felt the call to “go home” to Steampunk in a big way is Jeff Mach!  I met Jeff several years ago when he was planning his first Steampunk World’s Fair event in Central NJ….it took over a large room in a corporate hotel and has now expanded to a 3 day extravaganza, often taking over two complete corporate hotels, with hundreds  of cosplayers, artisans, vendors, musicians and those that want to just be a part of the spectacle!

Goth Girl

Goth Girl

As you may or may not know, Steampunk combines sci-fi with the Victorian Era, so fantastical contraptions are created as if solely fired by steam power.  Elements of Goth, fantasy and anime can be found as well.  Here’s a taste of what Jeff’s events bring…  https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkTendencies/videos/1317398068374556/?pnref=story

And in his own words, here’s a bit about what drew him to all this madness: 

3D computer graphics of a cyborg woman with a headdress in science fiction style

There’s a simple goal I have for every Jeff Mach Event: I make weekend-long homes for unusual people.

What does that mean?
The second martial arts school I attended was literally in the back of an alley, up a long flight of stairs. And leading to the school door, there was a pair of signs. The first was a standard martial-arts school notice, “Please remove shoes”. This simple act gave a physical reminder that I was leaving one place—“the street”—and stepping into a different world, with different rules.
The second was at the top of the stairs. “You are entering a traditional karate dojo. Please act accordingly”.
How did one “act accordingly”? I knew many common rules and practices—I also knew that every school I had seen had its own style, rules, approach. What was proper in one school might be utterly wrong in another.
Yet the practical value of that sign was enormous. It always gave me pause, called to my mind all of my associations with training grounds, what I learned there, and who and what those things made me. “Act accordingly”: know what you have come to do, know what you are doing, at least in your own mind. Or, at the barest minimum, recognize in your gut that you’ve come to a place where things are different. Don’t just take that difference passively, when it enters your space; make it a part of your consciousness.
And thus. And so.
You’ve entered our world, a place where we belong, a place where we are not the outsiders, a place where what we do matters, is meaningful, is real, and we are NOT the only ones who know it.
Steampunk, Rocky Horror, Renaissance Faires, Geeky spaces; it doesn’t matter.
Leave the outside world for outsiders.
We bring our homes with us, inside us, we foster them with love and passion.  We’re different–not better, just not the same–and sometimes, we realize: we are not alone.
And that place?  That place is home.
The next Steampunk World’s Fair is May 5-7, 2017 in Central NJ….here’s where you can find all the info & tickets:  www.SteampunkWorldsFair.com

Celebrating NJ through photography

Keansburg Beach (c)July2013 Lauren Curtis

It’s been the brunt of jokes many times but I’ve said it before…New Jersey is truly a pretty awesome, diverse state and not just a compilation of highway exits and landfill sites.  While there are areas that are less than pleasant, much of The Garden State does live up to this name as we have such a wide variety of terrain in such a small state; mountains, beach, cities, suburbs, farmland, historical sites and more.  This is why I’m proud to honor my home state through photography!  This month (Nov., 2015) I have a photo in the New Brunswick Photography Competition taking place 11/13/15 (Friday the 13th is a lucky day for me so who knows..maybe my piece will win an award??) at the New Brunswick Free Public Library on Livingston Ave.  The opening reception, open to the public..and free..will be 6pm-8pm.  Award winning photos will then be on display at The George Street Playhouse & Crossroads Theater, both in New Brunswick, NJ.

I’m also very excited to have a SOLO NJ Photography Exhibition at OQ Cafe Gallery in Highland Park, NJ! I’ll have hand printed 35mm photos among many other images that depict the history and diversity of The Garden State. This show has an opening reception Friday, 11/20/15, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, refreshments served & cafe items for sale. 13 South 3rd Ave., Highland Park, NJ. 732-455-2994. FREE EVENT! Feel free to bring friends and family! Original matted prints & greeting cards will be for sale the night of the reception…great for holiday gifts!
Show runs thru 1/31/2016.  Here’s a teaser of some of the images in this show….

Grounds For Sculpture (c)July2014

Grounds For Sculpture (c)July2014

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

Cross Estate Urn, (c)May2015

Cross Estate Urn, (c)May2015

Here’s the Facebook invite link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1635160093417892/

Please feel free to share it and invite friends and I hope to see you at these events if you’re in the Central NJ area!

~Lauren

THE NEED FOR EDITORS

Author/editor Kathryn Nevin & her adorable dog Emmie Lou

As an illustrator, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many authors and publishers, so I know about the importance of editing. One of my most recent clients (and now friend) is the talented Kathryn Nevin (we’re doing a children’s book about her adorable dog Emmie Lou!), who is both an author and professional editor.  But being I’m the artist and not the writer, I’ve asked Kathryn to share her views on the need for good editing.  Here’s her words about your words….

Author/editor Kathryn Nevin & her adorable dog Emmie Lou

Author/editor Kathryn Nevin & her adorable dog Emmie Lou

THE NEED FOR EDITORS

by KATHRYN NEVIN

Lately I’ve been interested in polling internet literature regarding the art of editing. Despite the outright dearth of related articles, what does exist seems to suggest that editorial review is not always necessary, complete with a whole range of tips on “do it yourself” editing. If you’re a good enough writer, most articles suggest, then you just don’t need an editor. Multiple programs to catch spelling and even grammatical errors litter the market. Although the reasons for hiring a professional editor vary, here are three good reasons to seek out editorial review: missing words, extra words, and repeated sentences. No matter how polished the writer, these blunders happen, and that’s where the human touch of editorial services comes in. You simply can’t turn in any document without having it professionally checked by a real-life person. Imagine your chagrin at missing something as simple as a cut and paste error! Imagine losing that job interview or scholarship over simple mistakes.

In addition, only a human reader is qualified to assess meaning. The author knows what she means to say, but does the reader? It’s easy to think we are communicating what we mean to say when we’ve been mulling it over and writing about it for hours or days. But is what you mean to say really coming across? Whether I’m a student or a business magnate, I aim to be understood. It’s crucial to my academic success. It’s paramount to my marketing campaign. I want people to get my message and I want to be sure the message is clear. If my reader grapples with any confusion as to why my notion or product can help them, it’s just not going to sell. I can run my message through spell check and a number of other programs, but the bottom line is: meaning requires human response. There’s just no getting around it. Editors are vital to the writing process and finished product. Without us, you may never know the power and the glory of an author’s intentions.

My online editing business, Eagle-Eye Editing, ensures that these mistakes and blunders will be caught. In addition to correcting spelling and grammatical errors, I have a particular ability to: – clean up clumsy sentence structure – simplify lengthy passages into clear, concise text – transform passive or stilted language into lively, active prose – ensure textual consistency, providing an even flow and tone of language.

Editing, then, is not just about catching mistakes. It’s also about refining and finessing language so that your particular voice as a writer can sail through clearly. My precision-driven style does all of the above, providing exceptional results. I work fast, but with great attention to detail, and always with an eye to achieving your goals.

I’m always happy to provide you with a resume, reviews, and a sample edit of your work to make sure you feel confident about using my service. To reach me, simply send an email to: klnproofer@gmail.com or if you prefer to call, my number is 302-384-3424. And be sure to catch me online at: http://www.facebook.com/eagle.editing. I look forward to working with you!

Best Regards,

Kathryn Nevin, MSW

Sneak peak to the up-coming children’s book Kathryn & I are doing…

My Name Is Emmie Lou (c)2015

My Name Is Emmie Lou (c)2015

EmmieLouCoverJune2015sm

Autumn Art and Halloween Happenings

Xray NiteRoot Creature (c)2014

Autumn is upon us (despite unusually warm temps in NJ) and with it comes the beautiful, bright colors of the leaves and crisp, sunny days perfect for outdoor festivals…and of course, the haunting, mysterious time that is Halloween!  All these factors have come together this month for some seasonal art events and festivities that I’m excited to be a part of….

“Something Wicked This Way Comes”,
Group Art Exhibition

Xray NiteRoot Creature (c)2014

Xray NiteRoot Creature (c)2014


Celebrate the Autumn & Halloween season artistically at GALLERY U!  I’ll have the above digital photo collage in this hauntingly exciting art show & masquerade party…costumes encouraged!  FREE event, refreshments served. This show has an opening reception party Fri.. 10/30/15, 6pm-8pm, Gallery U, 439 South Ave. Westfield, NJ  07090.  908-232-1895
Show runs thru 11/30/15.

MORE FALL ART FESTS & EVENTS in NEW JERSEY

vending tent

vending tent

Join me for these FREE arts & music fests & other art events this October!  Fun for the whole family with local artists, crafters and other vendors, music, food and more!

CANAL FEST, Sat., 10/17/15, 11am – 5pm.  Market Street, East Millstone, NJ by the D&R Canal.

BrainFlower (c)Lauren Curtis Sept.2012 Digital Photo Collage

BrainFlower (c)Lauren Curtis Sept.2012
Digital Photo Collage

NATURE SOOTHES, NATURE RESTORES, NATURE HEALS, group photography exhibit and D&R Land Trust educational events, D&R Greenway Landtrust Gallery (Johnson Education Center), Princeton, NJ.  Opening Wed. 10/28/15, 6:30-7:30pm. Show runs thru Nov. 6.  I’ll have 2 digital photo collages in this show.

And last but certainly not least…I have work in these shows as well….

New Brunswick NJ Photography Show at the historic Free Public Library, Livingston Ave., opening reception Fri. 11/13/1, 6pm.

“Naked in New Hope”,  A Group Exhibition
Group exhibition at Sidetracks Gallery, 10 Stockton Ave., New Hope, PA, 215.862.4586
Opening reception Saturday., Sept. 12, 2015, 6pm-9pm. Free event.
I have 2 x-ray pieces in this show.  Show runs thru Oct. 31, 2015.

“EarthAirFireWater: elements/sacraments‏” , group show at Nails in the Wall Gallery,
St. Luke’s Church, Metuchen, NJ.  Opening reception Sat. Sept. 19,  2pm-5pm. Show runs through Dec. 2015.
I have a mixed media piece in this show.

As always, thanks so much for reading!
~Lauren

Worldly Art; German TV debut, Naked Exhibit & more!

Guardian Of The Elements, mixed media (c)Lauren Curtis

It’s great not only to be able to connect with local artists but with creatives from other states and countries as well!  I’m sure many of you out there, with the ease of social media and the internet, have been viewing artistic works of all types from across the globe now more than ever, and for those of you that create your own, you’ve probably been enjoying sharing your work with the world as well!  Even though keeping up with online sites and content can be exhausting it is also so helpful when trying to launch or expand a career, especially a visual one like fine art and design. So I’m happy to share this news with you about some US & European projects I’ve been involved with….

“Naked In New Hope” poster

“Naked in New Hope”,
Group exhibition at Sidetracks Gallery, 10 Stockton Ave., New Hope, PA, 215.862.4586
Opening reception Saturday., Sept. 12, 2015, 6pm-9pm. Free event.
I have 2 x-ray pieces in this show.  Show runs thru Oct. 31, 2015.

Guardian Of The Elements, mixed media (c)Lauren Curtis

Guardian Of The Elements, mixed media (c)Lauren Curtis

“EarthAirFireWater: elements/sacraments‏” , group show at Nails in the Wall Gallery, 17 Oak Ave., St. Luke’s Church, Metuchen, NJ.
Opening reception Sat. Sept. 19,  2pm-5pm. Show runs through Dec. 2015.
I have a mixed media piece in this show.

I’ll also be vending at many NJ free outdoor art fests…next one will be Sunday Sept. 20th, Highland Park, NJ Arts in the Park fest, Raritan Ave., 10am-4pm.

XRAYted Book 2 (c)July2015

XRAYted Book 2 (c)July2015

OTHER COOL ART NEWS…
Thanks to the magic of self-publishing I’ve just completed my 4th art book; this one features original x-ray based, mixed media pieces! Full color, glossy 20 pg. 8″x8″ hard cover signed books, just $35 + s/h. Here’s a preview (see pic above)…Paypal accepted.  To order email me at forestwalker333@hotmail.com

And finally the big news!  I made my European TV debut last month and was featured on a German entertainment/cultural show!!  They filmed at my home and other local places…was a very unique experience.  Here’s where you can check it out..of course my crazy nails were the focus but my art is shows as well!  https://vimeo.com/133715051
Even if you don’t speak German you’ll get the gist…

European TV debut & other exciting art news!

MelodyBar2 (c)May2015

HAPPY 4th OF JULY WEEKEND to all of you in the US & happy weekend to those elsewhere!!  Holidays…and often weekends in general…are a time to celebrate but this time I have even more reason to do so as I have some exciting news… I’ll be on TV again!! Recently I was contacted by a German TV show producer to be in an up-coming episode of their well-known cultural entertainment show that airs in Germany & other parts of Europe! We filmed all day a few weeks ago & I’m now waiting for the show to air (hopefully this month!). The episode features my long, “living sculpture” nails as well as my artwork & I’m so excited for this great opportunity! I’ll post more details as I get them as well as any links there may be to view the episode…stay tuned!!

Lauren By Forrest

Lauren By Forrest

And more exciting art news & events; “FOTOGRAPHIA” Photography exhibition at Gallery U, 439 South Ave W in Westfield. (908) 232-1895. Opening reception Friday., July 3, 2015, 6pm-8pm. Free event. I have the digital photograph below in this show.  Show runs thru July 31, 2015 & features photography from many talented area artists.

Nola Gothic Church (c)Lauren Curtis

Nola Gothic Church (c)Lauren Curtis

New Fine Art Commissions Creating special, commissioned artwork for collectors is really enjoyable especially when the images bring back fond memories of their favorite places to hang out & sometimes they even found love there too! Such is the case for the gone-but-not-forgotten Melody Bar that was in New Brunswick, NJ! This was a regular hangout of mine so it’s been so much fun creating several original pen & ink with watercolor commissions for others who found this place special.  If you have a place you’d like immortalized thru art, contact me for commission info.!

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

Melody Bar Art (c)2015 Lauren Curtis

MelodyBar2May2015 And, being it’s officially Summer….It’s T-SHIRT time again!!  You can wear my art on 100% pre-shrunk cotton T’s! Many unique designs on black, white or gray shirts, $20-$35 each +s/h depending on size & color.  All sizes from kids to XXL!  Contact me for details & to order.  Paypal accepted!  forestwalker333@hotmail.com

T-shirt/card design Flyer

T-shirt/card design Flyer

Art Blooms in June; New Exhibits & News

Cross Estate Urn, (c)May2015

Happy June All!  Here in NJ plants are full and green, flowers are blooming and summer is only a few weeks away!  With this comes fun, free outdoor art fests as well as new gallery exhibits so if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll add these events to your list of things-to-do this month!

Gallery U; Litill Flier & Press Release May 2015

Gallery U; Litill Flier & Press Release May 2015

GalleryU_LitillFlierJune2015


“Litill” Small Works Group Exhibition at Gallery U
, 439 South Ave W in Westfield. (908) 232-1895.
Opening reception Friday., June 5, 6pm-8pm. Free event.
I have two mixed media pieces in this show.  Show runs thru June 29, 2015.

Cross Estate Urn, (c)May2015

Cross Estate Urn, (c)May2015

East Brunswick, NJ Fine Art Fest
I’ll have a booth in this annual fine arts event located surrounding the pond at the Municipal Complex by Dunhame Corner Rd., East Brunswick, NJ.  FREE outdoor event for the whole family!  Saturday, June 6th (rain date Sun., June 7th) Food available for purchase.
Aside from my fine art photography I’ll also be selling my original jewelry, t-shirts & greeting cards!  Come by for a  fun day with many local artists!

Mystics, Mourners, Dreams Book (c)Mar2015

Mystics, Mourners, Dreams Book (c)Mar2015

OTHER COOL ART NEWS…
Thanks to the magic of self-publishing I’ve just completed my 3rd art book; this one features original paintings & mixed media pieces! Full color, glossy 20 pg. 8″x8″ hard cover signed books, just $50 + $5 s/h (in continental US). Here’s a preview (see pic above)…Paypal accepted.  To order email me at forestwalker333@hotmail.com

Thanks for reading!  🙂

NJ Isn’t Boring, Ireland Art Exhibition & more

Ireland; Blarney Castle (c)Lauren Curtis

Spring is almost upon us, even though the NJ weather doesn’t always agree, but wherever you are I hope you’ll take a minute to read about these exciting art events and if you are in the area, please visit these exhibitions & enjoy the art of spring!

Carnival, NJ June2011

Carnival, NJ June2011

New Jersey Isn’t Boring!
Group Show at Arts Guild New Jersey
1670 Irving St.,  Rahway, NJ
Opening reception Sun. March 22, 1pm-4pm. 

See what makes NJ so unique and definitely NOT boring!  Artwork of all types from many local artists. Show runs thru April 16, 2015.
I have two digital photos  in this show.

Ireland; Blarney Castle (c)Lauren Curtis

Ireland; Blarney Castle (c)Lauren Curtis

Savor the Arts; Ireland Exhibition, Group Exhibit, Middlletown Arts Center
36 Church St., Middletown, NJ

Opening Reception, Fri. March 20, 7pm-9pm.
Join this artistic celebration of Irish culture!  Show runs thru April 18, 2015
I have the above photo in this exhibit.

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

Revelation/Revolution
Group art exhibition at Nails in the Wall Gallery, St. Luke’s Church, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen NJ.  I have 2 paintings in this current exhibit that will be up until May 31, 2015.  Visit this eclectic, spiritual gallery to view work from local, national and international artists!

"Necropolis", digital photo collage (c)Lauren Curtis

“Necropolis”, digital photo collage (c)Lauren Curtis

Spirit of the Human Family
Group Exhibition at the Linda Grandis Blatt Gallery, Temple B’nai Or, 60 Overlook Rd., Morristown, NJ.  Spiritual and artistic views on the meaning of family, this show runs thru April 10, 2015.  I have 3 pieces in this exhibition.

Your History is Your Personal Story

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

One of the best things about being a full time freelance artist is creating work for some talented clients from across the globe!  Some of my favorite clients to work with are authors as it’s very cool to bring someone’s story to life with artwork!  I recently designed a book cover for author “Just Judy” and when we started chatting about what we do, I found her own story so interesting, I invited her to be a guest blogger here….aside from her novels she also compiles stories based on people’s actual family histories and creates unique books just for them!  Below she shares her inspiration with us about this fascinating project and included is her contact info. if you’d like to have this done for yourself and your own family…..

JUST JUDY; author, personal historian

JUST JUDY; author, personal historian

Personal History and the Circle of Life

Imagine a special shelf on your bookcase, displaying a few old, faded cloth covers with frayed corners, the packages of words written by your grandmother, or grandfather, or better yet, both. There would be pages filled with their stories of life’s pivotal moments and challenges, their anecdotes of parenthood, a short section for favorite family recipes, and maybe a remembrance of the day you were born: “We became grandparents today,” one would joyously announce. And, there would be pictures, just a few, of times long gone, before the days of images in color. The infant, you, may be sitting in a bassinet in front of your parents. Behind would be two stolid, stone-faced seniors, unfamiliar with this newfangled device called a camera, hiding the wide grin they wear within.

For me, words are music to my soul and art makes my spirit soar. A day spent reading such old cloth covered books would bring a warmth of emotion and a strong sense of what it means to be me and from whence I come. The record of one’s life is a gift that lasts and in the writing of it we gain perspective and strengthen our feeling of self within the larger picture of life.

It’s not all about us. It never was. Every writer of a personal history starts out with information of others, their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. We come from a fountain and from us flows new beings. There seems to be no end to this circle of life?

JUST JUDY;  Holy Joe

JUST JUDY; Holy Joe

I am a personal historian. This is a new gig for me. I’ve always been a reader and writer, but now I am hooked on life story. I help people mine their memories and record and arrange these images in a logical order. When the writing is complete, we are left with a unique package, so I help coordinate the cover art and short-run printer. Mostly, I keep the project on track and see it through to completion. I know that every life has a story to tell, and the world needs such stories.

If you leave this reading with a mental image of your own special bookshelf and awareness that there is such a thing as a personal historian, then I will be satisfied. There aren’t many of us; six-hundred-fifty members worldwide. But, we are growing. Not everyone is a writer, but everyone has a story to tell. I’m truly excited about this new career. It’s another expression of art and a mode for celebrating and preserving life.

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

Just Judy, Personal Historian (justjudy4@gmail.com)

Just Judy, Keepers of History (keepersofhistory.com)

Nationwide: The Association of Personal Historians (personalhistorians.org)

Nevermore Play Portrays Poe in Gothic Stlye

NEVERMORE play

Hello arts supporters, creators and fans!  I don’t often promote events here other than art exhibitions, but when I heard about this new Off-Broadway play, I knew it’d be something I’d like to see and that many of you readers, especially those interested in the Gothic culture, would be interested in!   So, for all of you Edgar Allan Poe fans, and those fascinated, like I am, by the whole macabre, Victorian literary style, here’s a play for you…and information on how to get tickets as a discounted price!  Maybe I’ll see you at the play….??

NEVERMORE
THE IMAGINARY LIFE & MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF EDGAR ALLAN POE
“EXQUISITELY STYLISH…A GOTHIC FANTASIA!” – The New York Times
“4 Stars!”- The London Telegraph
“A MASTERPIECE!” – Londonist
“STARTLING, BEAUTIFUL & HAUNTING!” – TheaterMania
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR A SHOW UNLIKE ANYTHING YOU’VE SEEN BEFORE
Dark and dazzling, bizarre and beautiful, Nevermore – The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe tells the strange and fascinating story of the iconic American writer. Through stunning stagecraft and haunting music, the visions and dreams audiences see on this New York stage create a unique theatrical experience within the world of Poe’s macabre life and imagination.
NEVERMORE play

NEVERMORE play

“THEATRICAL GENIUS! REMINDS YOU OF TIM BURTON GONE WILD.”
– Calgary Herald
SNEAK PEAK INTO THE WORLD OF NEVERMORE: http://nevermoreshow.com/nmnws115
Mon, Fri-Sun: Front Orchestra & Mezz – $66.00 (reg. $95)
Mon, Fri-Sun: Rear Orchestra & Mezz – $49.00 (reg. $75)
Wed & Thurs: All regular price tickets – $39.00 (reg. $95)
BUY YOUR TICKETS:
ONLINE: TelechargeOffers.com and use code NMLSP115
PHONE: 212.947.8844 and mention code NMLSP115
BOX OFFICE: New World Stages 340 W 50th Street (btwn 8th and 9th Ave.)
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE – Mon 7pm, Wed 8pm, Thur  2:30PM & 8PM, Fri 8PM, Sat 2:30PM & 8PM, Sun 3PM

*Expires 03/29/15. Tickets regularly $75-$95. All prices include $2 Facility Fee. Blackout dates may apply. All sales are final – no refunds or exchanges. Offer subject to availability and prior sale. Not valid in combination with any other sale or on previously purchased tickets. Normal service charges apply to phone and internet orders. Cast and Schedule subject to change. Offer may be revoked or modified at any time without notice. Limit 10 tickets per order. Valid on select seat locations only. Logo Design by Kurt Firla. Photography by David Cooper.

The freelance work search

Watercolor illustration for a client from a freelance job site.

So, you’ve decided to make art your full time career but aside from people you know, how do you go about finding new clients?  Well, I’m a member of just about every freelance job site that posts art related jobs and I’m now in the process of updating all those profiles…a job in itself….and applying for more work.  It’s very tough and very competitive, with the big problem of people WAY under bidding and under valuing their work just to get jobs…this doesn’t help any of us!  It devalues what we do and perpetuates the stigma of the “poor artist”.  Art is valuable and serves a great purpose in promoting businesses and products, portraying an author’s ideas,  giving life and an image to just about anything….so, I look forward to bidding my face off and gaining new clients…and providing the best work possible!  You can find me on many freelance job sites or check out my illustration and design work on http://laurencurtis.imagekind.com/   Feel free to contact me for more info!

LOVE for art in February

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

Time to show some LOVE for art this February!  And there are many ways to do this, especially if you’re in the New Jersey area.   I have paintings, mixed media and photography pieces exhibiting in several locations this month, along with other talented local artists as well as those from across the US…and all these events are FREE to attend!  What a great way to spend the month of love!  Here’s the details: 1. SPIRIT OF THE HUMAN FAMILY, group exhibition, Linda Grandis Blatt Gallery at Temple B’nai Or, 60 Overlook Road, Morristown, NJ 07960, opening reception Sunday 2/8/15, 2-5pm.  See postcard above for more details.

SpiritHumanFamilyPostcardJan2015

SpiritHumanFamilyPostcardJan2015

2. TWO ARTIST EXHIBIT; ART OF NEW BRUNSWICK.  I have several 35mm B&W and color digital photos in this exhibit in the Mayor’s Office in New Brunswick NJ’s City Hall,  78 Bayard Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 732-745-5004  Opening reception to be announced and the work will be on view by 2/1/15, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

New Brunswick Master (c)L.Curtis

3. REVELATION/REVOLUTION, group exhibition runs thru the end of April and is now on display at the Nails in the Wall gallery in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 17 Oak. Ave., Metuchen, NJ.  I have 2 mixed media paintings here, including the one below, “Omen”.

Omen (c)2011 Lauren Curtis

Omen (c)2011 Lauren Curtis, oil painting with decoupage

4. I have several color,  nature photographs, including the one below,  published in the new book

The Raritan River: Our Landscape Our Legacy Limited edition!  To order your copy:
(c)2012 Funguslace, Digital photo

(c)2012 Funguslace, Digital photo

Please feel free to contact me by responding to this blog, or via my websites, with any questions about these exhibits or my work! Enjoy the art & take care, Lauren http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com  (NEW fine art site!) https://laurencurtis.wordpress.com  (my Blog)                                http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt (Facebook Fine Art Page) http://www.LaurenCurtisArt.com (commercial & fine art)  http://laurencurtis.imagekind.com/ (cards, T-shirts, photography, illustration)          https://twitter.com/LaurenCurtisArt (now on Twitter)

Artful Wishes for a New Year!

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

HAPPY, HEALTHY & PROSPEROUS New Year’s Wishes to you!  Whether you venture out or stay in to celebrate the beginning of 2015, I hope you enjoy yourself & ring in the new year right!  May your creative side come out in full force in a positive way!

I’m starting of 2015 with some exciting gallery exhibits & freelance work, so here’s the scoop…if you’re in NJ, I hope you can join me at these art openings:

DRAMATIC SKIES 2015, group exhibition, Gourgaud Gallery, 23A North Main St. (in Town Hall Bldg.), Cranbury, NJ.  Opening reception Sunday 1/4/15, 1pm-3pm, refreshments served.  Show runs thru 1/25/15.

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis

Dream Of Trees 2, oils (c)Lauren Curtis


REVELATION/REVOLUTION  group exhibit, Nails in the Wall Gallery (in St. Luke’s Church), 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen, NJ. Opening reception, Saturday, 1/24/15 (time TBA but most likely around 3pm). Show will be up for several months.  

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

Reminisce (c)2013, watercolor and collage

I also have an art article in the holiday issue of WILD SISTER MAGAZINE!  To check it out, here’s the link:  http://wildsister.com/latest-issue/

Finally, I’ve been getting some really fun freelance commission work like children’s book illustration and pet portraits…2 of my latest creations are below & click on the links to my art sites for more!

Children's Book Illustration, Oct2014

Children’s Book Illustration, Oct2014

Pet Portrait, pen & ink w/ watercolors, Dec2014

Pet Portrait, pen & ink w/ watercolors, Dec2014


Hope to see you at an exhibition &/or online.  Have a wonderful, art-filled New Year!!
~Lauren

http://laurencurtisart.weebly.com  (NEW fine art site!)
https://laurencurtis.wordpress.com  (my Blog)
http://www.facebook.com/LaurenCurtisArtTalonArt (Facebook Fine Art Page)
http://www.LaurenCurtisArt.com (commercial & fine art) 
http://www.laurencurtis.imagekind.com (cards, T-shirts, photography, illustration)

https://twitter.com/LaurenCurtisArt (now on Twitter)